Thursday, 6 January 2011

My Christmas - In Search of the White Tailed Eagle

Timing, as always, was perfect - a nasty cold just in time for Christmas! I woke up early on Christmas morning and decided I needed to do something memorable for the day, instead of focusing on how awful I was feeling.

The plan? To head to Loch Leven, near Kinross, to try and spot the White Tailed Eagle that has been frequenting the Loch recently. My other half was feeling almost as bad as I was and an early morning of bird watching wasn't exactly his cup of tea, but it was Christmas Day and he knew I'd enjoy it!

We parked in a deserted and icy Vane Farm car park and wandered along the road, keeping eyes peeled for the 'flying barn door'.

We walked a short distance along the Heritage Trail and slogged through the snow to the fence, giving a clear view across the frozen Loch. The rising sun was turning the tops of the surrounding hills pink.

Binoculars in hand, I began to scan the horizon looking for the Eagle. I was set up for disappointment, but soon I caught sight of the 'flying barn door'! It flew low in the distance for a short time before disappearing behind trees. Even though it was obviously the Eagle, I was still doubting what I had seen. A few geese in the vicinity began to honk and took flight, casting any Eagle doubts from my mind. I had definitely seen it. Then I caught another glimpse of it flying, the huge wings unmissable against the snowy backdrop.

After losing it for a few minutes, I saw it standing on the snow next to a bush. My other half joked, saying that it looked like a Labrador sat there it was so large! It flapped it's massive wings a few times, and then didn't do much else.

By this time, my feet were like ice, throat as sore as it could possibly be and I was coughing, so thought it best we headed home. Spent the best part of the rest of Christmas Day in bed ill, but at least I saw my Eagle!

I've cropped the original photo I took and circled the Eagle, so you can see it. Unfortunately, it was quite misty, which didn't help with clear photos.

Views from the loch side


Trekking Britain said...

I remember spotting my first one several years ago. They look like a chicken when sat down with big shoulders.

Karen the Artist said...

That's exactly what I thought - a huge chicken!

theresa dockery said...

Lovely photos - I've been following your blog for awhile now, it's very inspiring!

Is this one of the two White-taileds that have been touring Scotland and have now ended up (together) in Bute?

I missed the one that passed through my area about a month back - though I saw them up in Skye during the summer - it's great to see them making such a comeback! :)

Karen the Artist said...

Hi Theresa
Thanks for the nice comments. The bird i saw on Christmas Day was either female tagged TurquoiseH or male TurquoiseZ. TurquoiseH is still in this area, and she was back at Loch Leven this week. YellowO was on Bute but he was tracked to Loch Tay last week. Got this info from the East Coast Sea Eagle Project's blog